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  1. pafmarine

    pafmarine Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2010
    Messages:
    6
    Loc:
    long island
    I have a VC vigilant. This is my third year with this stove. I have never had a problem with it the first two years. It ran great, heats my whole house. I started burning this year around November and the stove ran perfectly as usual. As we got into late January/early February I began to notice a lack of draft when we would load the stove. Normally when you open the stove to add wood (it is a top loader) not a single drop of smoke would escape. You would see the smoke getting literally sucked up the chimney. Now, when we load the stove, smoke pours out of the load door and into the room and I even see smoke coming out the air control flap and the seams in the stove pipe before the chimney turns to class A pipe, usually when it is windy. I have a quality stack, Simpson dura-vent, 8" pipe all the way up. What I do not understand is I have always had killer draft. What has changed???? I checked the entire stack and it is crystal clear. I ran my brush through any way just to be sure. I disassembled the interior sections to check for blockage and everything is super clear. I used to be able to light a piece of newspaper and hold it in the stove near the flu opening and you would just see the smoke/ash literally getting super sucked right up the stack. Now if I do that, it barely gets sucked up at all. Because the stack is clear and clean, is there a problem with my stove??? Also, there have been no changes to construction of my home ( or surrounding homes), no new windows or anything that would increase 'tightness' of my house. HEEEELLLLPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Oh yeah, stove is an early style vigilant, no catalytic element. Just a plane jane johnny.

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  2. pafmarine

    pafmarine Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2010
    Messages:
    6
    Loc:
    long island
    I am answering my own post. I do believe I am not as smart as I think I am. I was complaining of a lost draft. After posting my questions I started poking around this forum and within about 3 minutes, I believed I had an answer to my problem. And I was right (or rather you dudes were right). Many posts on this site discuss clogged chimney caps and the more I read, the more it made sense. I found a ton of posts where people had Simpson brand chimney caps that clogged up. When I finally climbed on the roof to check it out I could not believe it. Although the stack was pretty clean when you looked up it through the clean-out port, the simpson cap was completely clogged! Now I will tell you, I burn nice dry wood (seasoned 2 yrs), I burn my stove hot (right side of griddle runs about 550-600), and I keep my stack clean (problem is I clean from the bottom/ground and cant see the cap, the stack length is 28 feet). My stack is 8" (interior dimension) Simpson duravent, all of it outside the house with no chase. Stove is a top exhaust into an interior 90, goes though the wall horizontally about 4 foot run, then to the exterior/clean-out/T, then 28 feet straight up-cap is 4 feet above roof peak. Although there are 2 90 degree turns, this set up has very excellent draft. I think the combination of an extremely cold winter here and a ton of snow storms have kept the very top portion of my stack cooler then the last two winters. Does that make sense? Would I benefit from insulating my stack (to code of course) with a 'chase' surrounding my chimney? The last two winters before this one I could clean my chimney once every 2 months and that schedule would keep my stack pretty much clean/free of creosote. This would be when I would be burning almost 24/7. This morning after I took the cap off, I took it to my shop and there must have been a 3/4" layer of tar 100% completely clogging the mesh spark arrestor screen that wraps the cap. The holes in the screen measured about 1/2" square. I ripped out the screen-wont have this problem again. There are still rings around the cap to prevent roasted birds. Ill have to look at the stack at night to see if there are any sparks. I dont see how a 1/2 inch hole would stop a spark/ember anyway. I did notice the closer to the top of the stack I got, the more creosote I had. I guess the more the cap clogged, the worse it got as time went on. Anyway, I am an idiot. Should have looked there first. All you stove heads are the best. thanks for your help again.
  3. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2010
    Messages:
    1,509
    Loc:
    Templeton, MA
    Funny post! You had me completely stumped. Reading this earlier, when you said the chimney was clean and you ran the brush in it I assumed you had checked the cap. This is a common case around here. It sounded like you had great draft before and will continue to have it now! Glad you figured it out!
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